I’ve lived in Toronto for 25 years and I feel like I’ve experienced everything that this city has to offer. ...
When Lisa and I used to live in a house, I would hang a Canadian flag from the front porch every July 1st. I would do it because I felt a sense of pride to be a citizen of a country which gives me the ability to lead my life the way I see fit and speak my mind openly and honestly. I also did it as a form of thanks to a country that opened their arms to my immigrant parents and provided them with opportunities so they can start a new life and prosper. So for me, there’s much pride when I see the maple leaf.
But, there’s also some apprehension. For me, a flag of any country is a symbol and encapsulation of the history of that country and an overt and blinding nationalist sentiment that I feel can be dangerous to a civil and just society. It’s easy to put the blinders on and say, “WooHoo, Canada is so awesome!!!” Usually after that sentiment comes “…and if you don’t like it, you can get the hell out!”
How can one balance out the systematic crimes against humanity that have taken place the last few centuries in the name of nation building? I can’t help but feel that overt nationalism breeds contempt for others since others might not follow “the Canadian way”. BTW, what is the “Canadian way”? I’ve always sort of taken pride that Canadians in general are not obsessed with spewing a “Canadian way”. We’re sort of all just figuring it out as we go along. This is a good thing because it promotes open-mindedness and flexibility.
This week, you’re going to read and hear a lot of people in nice suits and nicely combed hair (so that makes them smart, eh?) telling you what “it” is to be Canadian. Don’t listen to them! Decide for yourself what makes your Canada special. Also take time to think about what makes it special to be a citizen of planet Earth. For the survival of our world, that’s definitely more important than celebrating the 150th anniversary of a bunch of racist white guys signing some piece of paper. My two cents.